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data on someone else's computers,"
but the beauty of cloud computing is
that when your data is sent through a
cloud-based service with proper secu-
rity credentials, it is encrypted, both in
transit over the Internet and in storage
on the cloud servers.
This means that 1) if someone some-
how did capture your message in tran-
sit, they would not be able to read it
and 2) even if someone walked off
with the actual computer on which
your data is stored, they would not be
able to read it either. So the number
of security breaches within the top tier
of cloud computing companies com-
pared to the number of security
breaches on personal devices we
carry or keep in our offices is much,
much lower.
A good metaphor for using the cloud
versus local computers is flying versus
driving. The perception of driving is
that it is safer because we are in con-
trol, but the statistics show that it is far
safer to fly because the likelihood of
crashing in a plane is far, far less than
crashing in a car.
This doesn't mean you should jump
into a cloud-based system. But the
questions you could ask yourself about
whether cloud computing could be
helpful for you would be 1) Do I have a
good way to protect my data and back
it up wherever I work on it, such as my
home, office, or a laptop? and 2) Do I
have a good way of protecting any con-
fidential data that I currently send
through email?
If you don't, there are a variety of serv-
ices that can help with these chal-
lenges and it's probably worth looking
into. You'll still have to ask whether the
risk justifies the cost, whether your
clients will have concerns (or thank you
for it), whether the providers you're
considering are SAS-70 audited and
therefore reliable, etc. But in general,
the cloud is nothing new ­it's simply a
way to provide more protection and
availability for your data, which in many
cases can be a very good thing.
Ed Cheely is the vice president of
sales for ShareFile in Raleigh, North
Carolina. ShareFile provides software
that helps businesses exchange files
easily, securely, and professionally. It
currently has more than two million
business users and more than 14,000
corporate customers spread across
more than 100 countries around the
world. He can be reached at 919-324-
1661 or ed@ShareFile.com.
advocacy · community · education
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The number of security breaches within the top tier of
cloud computing companies compared to the number
of security breaches on personal devices we carry or
keep in our offices is much, much lower.